Respectful Insolence

Sometimes, justice does find quacks

Remember the quack-friendly scammer Kevin Trudeau? Remember his book Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You To Know About? Back during the summer, he was fined $5 million and ordered not to produce or publish infomercials for products in which he had an interest. Given the huge profits he made from Natural Cures and his followup The Weight Loss Cure ‘They’ Don’t Want You to Know About, unfortunately, $5 million was nothing more than the cost of doing business. It didn’t do one thing to deter Trudeau.

Maybe this will:

A federal judge has ordered infomercial marketer Kevin Trudeau to pay more than $37 million for violating a 2004 stipulated order by misrepresenting the content of his book, “The Weight Loss Cure ‘They’ Don’t Want You to Know About.”

In August 2008, Judge Robert W. Gettleman of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois had ordered Trudeau to pay more than $5 million and banned him, for three years, from producing or publishing infomercials for products in which he has an interest. The ruling confirmed an earlier contempt finding, the second such finding against Trudeau in the past four years.

Urged by both the FTC and Trudeau to reconsider aspects of its August order, on November 4 Judge Gettleman amended the judgment to $37,616,161, the amount consumers paid in response to the deceptive infomercials. The judge also revised the three-year ban to prohibit Trudeau from “disseminating or assisting others in disseminating” any infomercial for any informational publication in which he has an interest. On December 11, the court denied Trudeau’s request to reconsider or stay this ruling.

$37 million? Now that‘s more like it! That’s finally getting towards an amount of money that Trudeau might actually notice, that might actually cause him some real pain. Trudeau is a scammer, pure and simple. When enjoined by an FTC consent agreement not to make infomercials advertising his claims, he simply went around the decree by publishing books, using the First Amendment to bypass the–shall we say?–inconvenient orders. Here’s hoping that a judgment this big might actually slow down Trudeau. Given his past history of deceit and success in getting around judgments, I have no illusion that we will not be hearing from Trudeau again.

Comments

  1. #1 Screechy Monkey
    January 26, 2009

    Unfortunately, I’m still hearing radio commercials for Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You To Know About, the only difference being that the pitchman is someone other than Trudeau, bragging about how he just bought these “secrets.”

  2. #2 Kevin
    January 26, 2009

    The problem isn’t just trudeau, it is the gullible public that lines up to buy from him and the myriad, less polished but just as deceptive, hucksters who prey on them

  3. #3 Pareidolius
    January 26, 2009

    The “worried well” will buy anything to keep from getting sick, I know, I used to be one of them . . . until I actually got sick and needed surgery. The whole experience was so transformative (the worried well vocabulary takes longer to get rid of than the fear) that I was literally not the same afterward. The doctors, nurses and their tools and drugs made the whole experience fairly painless. But it was the loss of my dear sister to lung cancer that ultimately ended my misguided views of medicine. She clearly confronted her fate from the start. She planned for the end, was well cared for, and the palliative treatments saved her from such agony that my uninformed paranoia of “Big Medicine” vanished with the rest of my magical thinking. I used to fall for the likes of Trudeau not because I wasn’t smart, but because I wanted what they were selling to be true.

  4. #4 Jesse
    January 26, 2009

    Trudeau has spent time in prison for fraud. Maybe I’m looking at the glass as half-empty but I’m not so sure the fine will stop him.

  5. #5 wfjag
    January 26, 2009

    Kevin Trudeau or Død Snø; Kevin Trudeau or Død Snø; Kevin Trudeau or Død Snø — which Zombie is scarier?

  6. #6 Jesse
    January 26, 2009

    At least the zombie would be honest about wanting to eat you. Trudeau would want you to pay him $19.95 for a secret ‘weight loss plan’ and then turn the zombie lose on you.

  7. #7 Mrs. Grackle
    January 26, 2009

    This book review on Overstock.com pretty much says it all regarding the sophistication of the people buying this crap: “The book was OK, but the “so called” cure isn’t very practical. Wasn’t very satisfied at all with the “so called” cure. Thought the book was very misleading, but definately a good buy on Overstock.”

    I was ripped off, but at least I got a good buy.

  8. #8 Joseph C.
    January 26, 2009

    Trudeau has spent time in prison for fraud. Maybe I’m looking at the glass as half-empty but I’m not so sure the fine will stop him.

    It will not stop him. The man is a pure sociopath and as long as he’s not in prison he’ll find a way to run his cons.

  9. #9 Heraclides
    January 26, 2009

    On a smaller scale, in NZ a small “natural health” business was fined for claims to have a cure for HIV, etc. (Under the Fair Trading act, I believe.) Haven’t time to relocate the link, I’m afraid.

  10. #10 cm
    January 26, 2009

    I find it useful to have him on TV in case I forget what it’s like to stare into the face of pure evil.

    I’ve heard he’s going to come out with a new book now called Natural Cures “They” Fined Me Thirty-Seven Million Dollars For Letting You Know About

  11. #11 Mrs. Grackle
    January 26, 2009

    I love the FAQ section of his website. “I understand you’ve given millions of dollars away.” You could say that.

  12. #12 AL
    January 26, 2009

    Some of his plugged natural cures are true, but trivial, such as eating an orange to combat scurvy. I want to write a book in which I point out that the cure for the devastating disorder known as dehydration, which afflicts millions of people worldwide, is all-natural water! I just need to find a way to spin this simple concept into something sensational enough to get people to send me 37 million greens over. Oh, and I need to throw out any ethical qualms about doing so…those things, always in the way between me and riches.

  13. #13 Danio
    January 26, 2009

    OT, but three cheers for Orac! Congratulations on a well deserved accolade.

  14. #14 DLC
    January 26, 2009

    The last Trudeau scamfomercial I saw was him selling get rich quick schemes. I think it was titled something like “debt relief they don’t want you to know about” or some other such idiotic title. The guy’s a crook. plain and simple.

  15. #15 Joseph C.
    January 26, 2009

    The last Trudeau scamfomercial I saw was him selling get rich quick schemes. I think it was titled something like “debt relief they don’t want you to know about” or some other such idiotic title.

    Yeah, that was Kev-o at his slimy best. He kept saying, “It’s not your fault you’re in debt. It’s the banks!”

    Also, to red line the strange, one of Kevin’s panelists in his “Debt Cures” infomercial was a former Playmate of the Year. Was this supposed to enhance the credibility of the program? What does one of Heff’s bimbos have to do with debt relief?

  16. #16 Leni
    January 26, 2009

    Trudeau is not who I thought he was, sadly.

    QVC (some home shopping network) repeatedly plays an “infomercial” for this pyramid scheme natural cure thing that I thought was based on this book. I could not find a picture of the guy who does those ads, but man. He is one seedy looking dude. Greasy, fake-tan, a pencil-mustache, weaselly and beady-eyed. He looks like he went straight to the studio after a 5-day meth binge. Creep-y.

  17. #17 tresmal
    January 26, 2009

    Trudeau ordered to pay 37 million dollar fine? Here’s my comment.

  18. #18 I am so wise
    January 26, 2009

    Merck should buy out Trudeau’s publisher and brag about it. Kind of like that scene in House where Tritter hangs out with Chase and makes it look like they’re having a pleasant lunch together.

  19. #19 Mojo
    January 27, 2009

    Heraclides wrote,

    On a smaller scale, in NZ a small “natural health” business was fined for claims to have a cure for HIV, etc. (Under the Fair Trading act, I believe.) Haven’t time to relocate the link, I’m afraid.

    Would that be the this? HIV isn’t mentioned, but SARS, bird flu, smallpox, and herpes are.

  20. #20 chris
    January 27, 2009

    He is one seedy looking dude. Greasy, fake-tan, a pencil-mustache, weaselly and beady-eyed. He looks like he went straight to the studio after a 5-day meth binge. Creep-y.

    He has a series of infomercials as well for some sort of colon cleanse supplement, if it’s the same guy I’m thinking of. Apparently he looked at his 5 year old daughter’s stoll once, and saw how clean it was, and decided his stool should look the same. He acts like having a clean colon (which in and of itself isn’t a bad idea) will cure everything – warts, migraines, hammertoe, asthma, torn ACL, etc, etc.

    And he is creepy for sure. He looks like a cross between John Waters and Kramer when he smoked too much and his face got all brown and leathery.

  21. #21 Joseph C.
    January 27, 2009

    He has a series of infomercials as well for some sort of colon cleanse supplement, if it’s the same guy I’m thinking of. Apparently he looked at his 5 year old daughter’s stoll once, and saw how clean it was, and decided his stool should look the same.

    He acts like having a clean colon (which in and of itself isn’t a bad idea) will cure everything – warts, migraines, hammertoe, asthma, torn ACL, etc, etc.

    And he is creepy for sure. He looks like a cross between John Waters and Kramer when he smoked too much and his face got all brown and leathery.

    I think you’re talking about Klee Irwin, which sounds like a fake name to me.

    Yeah, I’ve seen his infomercials as well and that bit about checking out the toilet after his kid used it was insanely creepy.

  22. #22 catgirl
    January 27, 2009

    Some of his plugged natural cures are true, but trivial, such as eating an orange to combat scurvy.

    How many people who can afford TVs and books would actually have scurvy? And does he really think “They” don’t want people to know that eating an orange can cure scurvy? Does he think that someone with scurvy would go into a hospital and the doctors would hide the secret of oranges so they can prescribe something?

    Come on, Kevin. At least give us a ‘cure’ for something we might actually get. This isn’t even good scamming.

  23. #23 William
    January 27, 2009

    OK, I just saw ‘Kevin Trudeau’ in a 90sec commercial for his “Get out of debt, What the banks & CC companies don’t want you to know” book. New sucker pool it seems.

  24. #24 Her Reference Ron Sullivan
    January 27, 2009

    In my few years as a nurse, I found myself writing some very strange things including comments on various people’s (mostly children’s) stools. Floating, pale, hard, liquid, green, caustic… One thing I never ever thought to call them was “clean.” Because, y’ know, they’re shit.

    And I’m old enough to get the lit’ry reference to the joke about “But it’s really great shit!”

    I’ll second Joseph C. on the creepy factor. A five-year-old can generally flush the toilet herself. You want an empathy exercise: Imagine being this creep’s 5-y-o daughter. I do hope that’s a fake name he’s using on the tee-vee. Bleaugh.

  25. #25 chris
    January 27, 2009

    I think you’re talking about Klee Irwin, which sounds like a fake name to me.

    Yes, thank you.

  26. #26 Robert
    February 9, 2009

    Trudeau is still on air at 3am on Direct Tv HDN wtih a half hour infomercial. It is not a new one. Just the same tired thief and his leg and clevage flashers.

    He is acting in defiance of the FTC order. The order in November 2008 clearly bans him from any infomercial for anything that he has an intrest in. The ban will expire in November 2011. I hope they get him and lock him up. With the economy and the income situation we have right now his Debt Cure pitch is worse than predatory. This is criminal.

  27. #27 j davis
    November 30, 2009

    Unfortunately Trudeau is still at it and is hiding behind the first amendment to push his newest fraud–books. His ‘books’ contain information that is available for free on the internet. The FTC has been after Trudeau for years and every time they prosecute him he settles and considers it a cost of doing business. He has made millions from his various scams. Now he is posing as a ‘consumer advocate’ and has teamed up with fellow paranoiac Alex Jones to push various outlandish conspiracy theories. Trudeau is a dangerous sociopath who belongs in prison doing hard time! Our consumer fraud laws need teeth so people like Trudeau can be put where they belong.

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